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Will nanowires provide a breakthrough for solar power efficiency?

For many years scientists have tried to construct solar cells that exceed the Shockley-Queisser limit. This limit refers to the fact that photovoltaics currently recover less than a third of the sun’s power, but new studies propose that using nanowires could help increase their efficiency considerably. “The unique light-absorbing characteristics of nanoscopic structures could have a major impact on the development of solar cells, exploitation of nanowire solar rays and perhaps the extraction of energy at the international level,” said scientists at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

It will probably take years before this type of wires are in production, but once they are they could help make solar energy a more attractive alternative to fossil fuels.

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